Saturday, November 28, 2015

Computer Problems a Quick Update

A quick update before my modem conks out again. Is that how that word conk goes? Doesn't look right to me, but you know what I mean. I have had problems with the modem since that big rainstorm back in October. I goes on an off. Spent an hour yesterday with a very nice woman who tried to help, but in the end had to call for a service technician, who will arrive Monday between 8 and 11 a.m. Thinking about it, I wonder if it isn't something wrong with the connection to the satellite dish, not the modem itself. We'll see.

Continuing with the theme of all things here breaking down, I had the Jeep towed to my local mechanic because it too would start and then not. While there I asked them to fix the recurring 'death wobble.' So far the estimate for the wobble is over $1,300 and they can't find what's wrong with the starter mechanism. 

I choose to be with myself and my dogs on Thanksgiving. It was a choice, I had been invited places. I wanted to spend Thanksgiving the way I used to when I was single, by myself, being grateful for friends and family. Writing letters and Christmas cards to everyone and so on. It didn't work out that way and I hope to get that done tomorrow. Instead, I just diddled or piddled or whatever it is called around here. I cooked though, a lovely meal of baked catfish, roasted potatoes, and asparagus. It came out so great. I'm bragging here because I have sort of labeled myself as a bad cook. This is not true, I just don't love to cook, the way my husband did.

I missed Errol a lot, of course, but I wasn't sad. These days, sadness hits me at the weirdest times and I get overwhelmed with grief. I give in to it then, I cry and think of him, of him and me and our life together. Then the sadness subsides and I feel OK again. I know this is normal.

Today my friend Mary and I are going to Tehachapi to photograph a tree. I hope it works, it is very special, this tree, and you have to take the picture through the windshield of a car. We think, it is at a dead end of a busy road, where it connects with another road. Should be fun. Then we will have lunch and visit a gift shop in town. I'm looking for two more home-made soaps for my Christmas gifts. 

That's all for now and, hopefully, I will be back with a fully functioning modem on Monday afternoon. Just in time for Cyber Monday (just kidding, can't afford that now, though earlier I had thought of getting a new monitor, mine is from 2004 and may well be the next thing breaking down around here). Just kidding about that too, hopefully.

Pictures are from Water Canyon on the mountain on the way to the nun's place with Rachael in 2014. I'm having picture issues too with this new Windows 10, but no wish to deal with that right now. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Sand, Snow, And Wind Storms In The Canyon

It began yesterday with strong winds blowing off the top layer of the mud that has covered our land here since the mudflow that came down with the rain a few weeks ago.

I have wondered how nature would redeem herself, get rid of the mud, and return to normal. This may be one of her ways. Gusts to 60 mph they said on the news. 

Overnight, the storm continued with strong winds, rain, hail, sleet, and a little bit of snow. My old windows would have rattled, shook, and whistled with the wind; my new ones held up beautifully.  

As I stepped outside to take some pictures, I realized that much as I have longed for winter weather, something we haven't seen here for a couple of years, I may be getting a bit old for it. Even though it's only about 30F right now, I have absolutely no desire to walk the dogs in this weather. 

This was Faith's first encounter with snow. She stepped out into it, gingerly, lifting her paws and putting them down carefully, like a cat. But it didn't take long before she realized she could lick the snow, she could run around in it, and that there was more snow on her table. She took to running and jumping up and down, on and off the table, back up, down again, she even flew over Samson, but landed safely. She's so full of joy this dog, I just have to smile. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris ~ When Words Escape You

Thinking of Paris and those who lost their lives in last night's tragic attacks. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How Wolves Change Rivers ~ A Must See Video

When wolves were reintroduced in Yellowstone park some twenty years ago, I don't think anyone realized the tremendeous impact they would have on life in the park. This is a must see account of how the wolves of Yellowstone changed nature in the park, which then changed the lives of the rest of the animals in the park for the better.

How Wolves Change Rivers

My friend Dee said of the video:  "This reallly shows the Oneness of All Creation." 

Our friend Fran, (fishducky on the blogs) sent this to us. Thank you so much Fran, the video is amazing.

Monday, November 9, 2015

High Desert Road Trip, A Crafts Fair, A Cowboy, And A Cherokee Pow Wow

Saturday morning, my friends Mary, Jeanne and I set out on a road trip through the Mojave desert to the town of Ridgecrest where there was a Petroglyph Festival, which also included a crafts fair and a Cherokee Inter-tribal Pow Wow. 

The petroglyphs are located on the China Lake Naval Base. In order to see them, you needed to book a seat on a bus that would take you there. Because of the crowds, we decided to skip that and instead enjoy the rest of the festivities.

Red Rock State Park is more beautiful and impressive than the pictures I took from the car. 

But, as you can see, there's a lot more than sand to this high desert I have come to love. 

There were quite a few people wandering up and down by the stalls of the crafts fair. I have no idea why I didn't take any good pictures of this event. 

I guess I just don't like to put a camera in people's faces, so I'm more comfortable with their backsides.....

More backsides...... 

And, believe it or not, but I actually marched up to a group of young firemen, told them I had a crush on fire fighters and could I please take their picture. They agreed, they even smiled, but the picture didn't come out. I'm sure they thought this old lady must be suffering from something, hero worship, or whatever. I didn't care, I had fun. 

With a little help from my friends, I am coming back to the lighter side of life. 

Looking for the Pow Wow, we found this cowboy instead. He had the coolest chuck wagon I've ever seen (actually, I may never have seen a chuck wagon before, but never mind). He had everything you could imagine,

even a meatgrinder, just like the one my mom used to have. You can hire him and his wagon for BBQs and other events. 

More backsides...... 

The Cherokee Inter-tribal Pow Wow was held indoors, which took away some of the atmosphere, I think. Still, it was a fun mixture of tradition meets the 21st century. Jeanne pointed out that the small boys in the middle wore Seattle Seahawk colors with the seahawk featured in several places on their costumes. And she also noticed that the plates that held a feather on top of their heads were actually CDs. Those two were beyond cute.

While it was great to see the youngsters participating so vigorously, I loved this older guy. It gave me chills to watch him coming around the floor, again and again, in time to the beat of the drums. Like someone from another place and time.....

On our way home, we drove through the old mining town of Randsburg. It looked so much like the mining towns in Pennsylvania and West Virginia that I traveled through a long time ago. I would very much like to go back to this old town, less tired, to explore it with my camera. Old houses, leaning, meaningful junk left behind, mixed with pretty bungalows painted in candy colors, it doesn't get much better than that.

I have more to share from this trip. Jeanne had stories to tell about old men of the desert, a robbers hideout, and at the museum that we also visited there were pictures and information about interesting plants, ancient trees, dangerous snakes, and much more that I will post about at a later time. 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Notes From The Canyon

This morning brought the first frost to the canyon, 22 F and, unfortunately, only 55 in the house. Remembering that old folks can get hypothermia, I quickly turned on the heaters (we never used the floorboard heaters, not trusting the electric, I think) so stand-alone heaters and a fire in the wood burning stove/fireplace are enough to heat this small house. But I'm leaving the fireplace alone until the chimney gets cleaned.

Faith says, mommy it's cold outside, either I go running, or you let me inside.

So I can go snooze by the heater. 

She gets cold this dog. I keep hoping she'll grow some winter fur, but now I think I may have to crochet her a vest. Not that I would know how to do that, so it would be a challenge, and then she'd probably eat it. My Material Girl, is who she is.

Back to the hypothermia - I quickly put on longjohns and brought out this wonderful wool sweater, made and worn by my friend Carol. She gave it to me when I first moved up here and it has kept me warm ever since. It's a bit worn now, but I still love it. One of those gifts that just keep on giving.

It rained here for about two days, on and off. A soft and much needed wonderful rain. There was no point in Glenn coming; Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the days he works here, but it was just too wet and muddy. With no one here, I got to work on my closets. I emptied out Errol's closet in here, cleaned it, and then put my clothes in it. I accomplished most of what I set out to do. My "office" clothes and my nicer clothes for going out are still in my closet in the master bedroom. I guess I will never wear most of those clothes again, so I need to go through and purge some more.

This is the master bedroom right now. I just throw everything in there and then work my way through it. It's not as bad as it looks though, the boxes are empty I'm taking some more clothes to the thrift store today, and the rest I will sort through and take care of. When I'm done with this and the hall closet, I'm ready to begin tackling the old van that we have used as a storage unit for years now. It's stuffed to the gills also, but I hope to get the stuff down to where I can find room for it in my little house. I'm good at this, so I think I can make it work.

These were all the hangers left after I cleaned out Errol's closet. A lifetime's worth of clothes hangers, I thought. It made me sad. This is not easy, cleaning out what's left behind. All these hangers, empty now, no longer being used for Errol's clothes, brought home the temporary nature of our stay on this earth. 

I felt sad, but I don't want to end this on a sad note so I want to let you know that I kept many of his clothes and I'm wearing them. And that doesn't make me sad. It actually makes me smile to think that Errol was almost 4 inches shorter than I, but with age, I shrunk so that now I can wear his jeans! 

Monday, November 2, 2015

This Is Where The Pictures Came From (See a Previous Post)

Last week, I met up with my friend Jane at the William S. Hart park, where my friend Rachael is the Animal Keeper. I love this picture of Rachael, I think it shows how much she loves animals. She has dedicated a huge part of her life to their well-being.

And, as Jane pointed out, she also has the ability to make those of us perhaps not so comfortable with animals, or not used to being close them, feel comfortable. Jane said she didn't hesitate to hold this very old Peking duck or pet a snoozing old wild boar (see below). I often saw this at the donkey rescue, where Rachael helped people overcome their fears of snakes and tarantulas. After working with her there, I developed a fondness for snakes and lizards and I don't stomp on spiders the way I used to. 

This march of the geese was so cute. They went from one enclosure to another with a larger pond without giving us a second look.

One of two wild boars Rachael raised since they were small. She told us how smart they are and how much she's come to care for them.

After not being able to buy a fly shield for Norman, the 12-year old steer, Rachael got one and fashioned it so it fits him. 

Looks like both Jane and Norman are smiling here. How good it is to get an ear scratch. 

This is the old boar we both petted. 

Granted she was very old and sound asleep, but still, never did I think I would get a chance to actually pet a wild boar. 

After checking in with the horses and 

scratching more ears, a burro's this time, 

we moved on to visit with Deer Abby.

I met her the last time I was here and think of her often, so it was fun to see her again. She sniffed me with great attention to detail, up and down my jeans, and refused my offer of acorns. Was it dog smells that interested her so? 

She instantly fell for Jane though and I think it was mutual. Let the pictures speak for themselves:

After catching up on our lives over a picnic lunch, we drove up the very steep road to the mansion and took the guided tour. Turns out there was a lot more to Mr. Hart than just the movie star part. In fact I found him to be so interesting I may look into him some more and maybe write a post about him.

Mr. Hart donated the land and mansion to the County of Los Angeles on the conditions that entrance would always be free to the public and animals must always reside there and be taken care of by the county. Right now, the animals are lucky, indeed, to have Rachael as their caretaker. 

Samson to Faith: That's why she smelled so funny when she came home. Told you it couldn't be from her friend Jane!


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